Cavs owner Dan Gilbert: Pacers 'could have done better' in Paul George trade

Henry Bushnell
Dan Gilbert at the Cavs’ victory parade in 2016. (Getty)

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and new general manager Koby Altman took to a podium at the Cavs’ practice facility on Wednesday, and spoke on the record for the first time since Kyrie Irving’s trade request. They mostly said a whole lot of nothing.

Except, that is, when Altman was asked to look back on the team’s negotiations with the Indiana Pacers about a trade for Paul George. After Altman gave a long, rambling non-answer, Gilbert chimed in:

“I will say, Indiana could have done better than they did,” Gilbert said. His comment drew a laugh from Altman.


The Pacers ultimately traded George to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. According to several reports, the Cavs believed they had a tentative agreement in place with Oklahoma City before the NBA draft to acquire George in a three-team trade involving the Denver Nuggets. The trade reportedly fell through when Indiana GM Kevin Pritchard backed out at the eleventh hour via text message. From an ESPN story this past weekend:

A text message from Indiana Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard [that] undid an agreement on a blockbuster deal for George the Cavs were just starting to celebrate, a moment that now lives in infamy within the organization.

The post-trade consensus was that the package Indiana received from the Thunder was insufficient. The Cavs-Nuggets-Pacers deal on the table reportedly would have sent Kevin Love to Denver, George to Cleveland, and Gary Harris and the 13th overall pick in the 2017 draft to Indiana.

That seemingly would have been a better return for Indiana. And Dan Gilbert, in his definitely not unbiased opinion, would appear to agree.

Earlier in the news conference, both Gilbert and Altman deflected questions about Irving’s trade request. Gilbert acknowledged that a meeting with Irving and his agent had taken place, but refused to get into specifics. Altman called the situation “fluid.”

Gilbert also refuted reports that he lowballed Chauncey Billups during his GM search, saying money was not the reason talks with Billups broke down.

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